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Be Wary of Management Pitfalls as You Plan for Tomorrow

Eric Frederick |

Well, we’re off to a good start in a glorious new year. I realize that some of us would just as soon forget 2004, while others thought it was a banner year and hated to see it go. For most of us, last year brought a series of changes, challenges and problems.
No matter how well or how poorly we did in 2004, we are standing together, equally, in 2005. It is time again to prove our worth to our employers and hopefully improve the world in which we live. It is time to plan for this year and beyond.
Yes, I said plan. Seldom does anything good happen simply by chance. It is often said that failing to plan is planning to fail, and certainly none of us want to fail.
As managers, it is our responsibility to review our operations with a critical eye and determine where improvement is needed. Once we identify those areas, we must develop a plan whereby we can accomplish those needed upgrades. This step is not easy. It often requires doing a lot of research or seeking help from outside our facility if we are going to succeed in achieving our goals.
At this point, it is important to remember that we must avoid the four major management sins.
We have all seen the manager who is hopelessly caught in the Comfort Zone. They are so happy with what they are doing, and are so comfortable in their surroundings, they decide it is not worth the effort to improve. We often refer to these managers as the “working retired.” They will readily agree that their plants could be improved but are not sure it is worth the bother.
We must also work at avoiding the paralyzing fear of failure. For some, fear of failure so dominates their lives that they simply cannot take the risks associated with making changes in their laundry operation. They hide in their laundry department and pray that a management company or a commercial laundry does not take their job away.
We must also guard against ignorance. In this rapidly changing world of ours, we can quickly fall out of step with the current body of knowledge.
I realize that the National Association of Institutional Linen Management (NAILM), Textile Rental Services Association (TRSA), International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA), American Society for Healthcare Environmental Services (ASHES) and other associations are doing their best to provide quality educational opportunities. It is up to us, however, to take advantage of what is offered.
The final deadly sin we must overcome is the “know it all” syndrome. This type of manager is sure that they have a perfect knowledge of the industry. If they don’t know the answer, it must not exist. This person allows their pride to blind them and therefore prevent them from seeing opportunities for improvement or to at least seek qualified help.
A new year offers us the hope of a new tomorrow, a chance to improve upon our past or continue along the course we have set. The slate is clean, and it is up to us to fill in the lines. We will determine whether 2005 is better or worse than 2004. Develop professional and personal plans now. Plan to control your life instead of reacting to it.
 

About the author

Eric Frederick

Carilion Laundry Service

Director of Laundry Services

Eric Frederick is director of laundry services for Carilion Laundry Service, Roanoke, Va., and past president of the National Association of Institutional Linen Management (NAILM), now called the Association for Linen Management (ALM). He’s a two-time association manager of the year. You can reach him by e-mail at efrederick@carilion.com.

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